The Dark Times
Much before the 1980s —before hip-hop was created— Jazz, Rock, and Classical music was popular. Everyone knew the big names —Beethoven, Mozart, Maverick, and Les Paul— and knew what everyone did in his life with music, but it was getting old. “During the late 1970s an underground urban movement known as “hip-hop” began to develop in the South Bronx area of New York City… hip- hop became the dominant cultural movement of the African American and Hispanic communities in the 1980s” (Hip-Hop Culture).
There was little money coming to the nation while Reagan was in office, “The Great American job Machine has lost steam in the 1980s, producing new jobs at the slowest rate of any five-year period since 1960” (A Great American job Machine). People couldn’t even afford to go have fun in the movies, or dance clubs; they were stuck sitting in their homes looking outside the window how their community was getting destroyed, “In the 1970s many people… were poor. Most of the residents were African Americans. Their neighborhoods were run-down, with cracked sidewalks, poled-up garbage and burned-out apartment buildings. Drugs and street gangs let to crime and death” (Carol 6).
As rapper Bust Rhymes explained ‘“Hip-Hop is street music!”’ (Carol 6), you couldn’t hear it in houses, or birthday parties; “someone was always playing music at neighborhood block parties, in the parks, on the street corners. These outdoor places became the “clubs” where people gathered to have a good time and dance to the music” (Carol 6). A few years after hip hop —the golden age— was created, people understood that “The greatest impact of hip-hop culture is perhaps the ability to bring people of all different beliefs, cultures, races, and ethnicities together as a medium for young… to express themselves in a self-determined manner, both individuality and collectively” (The American Library Newsletter). People started meeting people with common interests and hobbies —play instrument, sports—and becoming friends, no matter what they believed in.
Thanks to one song “The Message” the life of blacks changed. “In 1982, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s hit “The Message” related the harsh conditions of life in poverty —stricken African American neighborhoods…. Public Enemy turned a spotlight in issues that concerned many African Americans —issues like drug addiction, media bias, and police prejudice” (Carol 20). The rappers also invented a unique uniform for themselves —to be different from other people— the leather clothes, chains. Adidas also became popular at that time, “inspired by tap performers such as the Furious Five, who sported head-to-toe leather, metal studs, and fur-trimmed coats, ghetto kids modified their street-gang uniforms to include gold rings and chains, personalized belt buckles, and high, knitted ski caps…. Spotless jeans, baseball caps, and impeccable Adidas sneakers were standard for Hip-Hoppers as well” (Hip-Hop Culture Blooms). Now, in the 21st century people still wear leather clothes, chains, and belt buckles (not only hip hopers, but also bike riders).
Many people liked hip hop, while other didn’t. There were radio stations that played hip hop, while they were legal, “Rap, Hip-Hop and rare groove are just some of the types of black music played on KISS FM, an illegal private radio station cased in South London and catering for young people of all races” (Grooving down the gangplank). Many people liked that kind of music, even though “…people liked the sound of N.W.A.’s music, the lyrics were another story. Almost every other word was R-rated. In N.W.A. songs, women were treated like trash and police were the enemy. Drugs and drive-by shooting were normal” (Carol 28). However, people still enjoyed listening to that kind of music, even though it lowered every person mentally, and physically. People were using drugs, alcohol, and causing sexual abuse due to hip hop. “Some critics attacked rap music in the late 1980s for the often overt violence, racism, sexual explicitness, and misogyny if its lyrics” (Hip-Hop Cultural Blooms).
Even though hip hop was considered violent music, hip hopers won many rewards. During Christmas, when most people listened to Christmas music, others listened to “Christmas Rappin”—invented by rapper Kurtis Blow, and DJ Kool Herk in the 1980s. Later in the invented ”The Breaks”; more than 500,000 copies were sold; also it became certified as a gold record (Carol 9-11). Many thought hip hop was gaining fame only because men were the stars. Many women also were into hip hop, and they enjoyed it just as man did. “Women could rock the mic just as well, and they proved it. Lady B became the first female rap soloist when she recorded “To The Beat, Y’all,” in 1980. She then became part of a rap group by the name of the “Funky 4+1”…. Their fourth album, Very Necessary, was a huge success, selling over five million copies in the U.S. and seven million copies worldwide” (Carol 16). Hip hop music was selling fast in the 1980s, faster than classics, and any other music genre.
During the 1980s hip hop influenced (many rappers worldwide) not only man, but also woman. Hip hop became the best-selling music of all time; classics became the “elders” music, and rock and roll was getting old, too. Many people listened to hip hop none stop, and brought a big profit to the musicians. Even today, in the 21st century, many people enjoy listening to old 19th century music, and never will forget about the performers, and their amazing accomplishments.
Ellis, Carol. “Hip-Hop hit-makers.” Mason Crest. Broomall, PA. 2013. Print.
A great American job machine has lost some of its steam. (1985, Aug 31). Seattle Times.
“Grooving down the gangplank.” The Economist [US] 23 Jan. 1988: 54. Gale Student Resources in Context. Web. 29 Jan. 2013.
“Hip-Hop Culture Blooms in 1980s.” DISCovering U.S. History. Detroit: Gale, 2003. Gale Student Resourced in Context. Web. 29 Jan. 2013.